tv Politics Nation MSNBC December 17, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
we're going to be calling on congress as well to act, to serve the american people as they should. >> president of the american postal workers union, great to have you with us tonight. >> thank you. >> it is unnecessary that we're going through this. congress can do something about it. that's "the ed show." >> good evening. thank you for tuning in. we start tonight with breaking news on president obama's historic move to reset relations with cuba. 50 years after the severing of diplomatic ties, it is a monumental achievement. overall decades cold war policy designed to damage the regime of fidel castro. today president obama said, it is time for a new era. >> today, the united states of america is changing its relationship with the people of
cuba. in the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years. we will end an outdated approach that for decades has filed advance our interests and instead, we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the american and cuban people and begin a new chapter among the nations of the americas. >> the new policy includes establishing a u.s. embassy in havana, discussions on restoring full diplomatic relations, expanding commercial sales and exports, and easing travel restrictions. the announcement came just hours after the arrival on u.s. soil of american allen gross, a contractor who had been held in a cuban prison for five years. and today, allen gross thanked the president for working to set
him free. >> today is the first day of hannukkah. and i guess so far the best hannukkah that i'll be celebrating for a long time. what a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country. ultimately the decision to arrange for and secure my release was made in the oval office. to president obama and the staff, thank you. i'll close with a quote from one of nelson demill's characters. it's good to be home. >> also today, three cubans convicted in 2001 on charges including conspiracy were released from u.s. custody. in exchange for what administration officials are calling an intelligence asset. today's agreement took 18 months to hammer out. pushed along in part by pope francis. this afternoon the white house
released this photo, showing president obama talking on the phone yesterday with cuban president raul castro. it was the first direct communication between a u.s. and cuban leader since 1961. today president obama addressed critics of the agreement. >> to those who oppose the steps i'm announcing today, let me say that i respect your passion and share your commitment to liberty and democracy. the question is, how we uphold that commitment. i do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result. today america chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past. so it is to reach for a better future, for the cuban people, for the american people, for our entire hemisphere, and for the world. >> today closes the book on our half century of u.s. policy on
cuba and turns a new page. joining me now, california congresswoman karen bass, a member of the foreign affairs committee, and nicholas burns, former u.n. ambassador to nato. now a professor at harvard university. thank you both for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> ambassador burns, let me go to you first. how significant was the president's action today? >> well, i agree with you. historic decision today. we have not had a normal relationship with cuba for half a century. i think the president was very smart and sensible to do what he did. we tried estrangement and isolation. we thought by isolating cuba we could bring down communist regime. it did not work. now to try diplomacy, to have a fully fledged ambassador, to be inside the country, we'll be smart better what's happening there. and our ambassador in havana
will have a platform to argue for american beliefs, that the castro regime has a poor human rights record. that it is opposed to freedom for the cuban people and we ought to be pushing that view from inside cuba. not from outside. so i applaud the president. it is a courageous move. we've sustain pushback from a number of his critics, especially in the republican party. i think the president can handle that criticism but a very courageous decision by president obama. >> you recently traveled to havana as part of a delegation. how important are the president's actions? >> let me give you a very specific example. you're right. representatives led a delegation. i just came back yesterday. and we were there because in cuba they have discovered a medication that reduces by 70% the need to have amputations in diabetic patients. you know how bad diabetes is in the united states. so because of the embargo, we've not been able to have that
medication available in the united states. now given what the president did today, it is my hope that we can immediately have clinical trials and if this medicine proves to be as valuable in the united states as it is in cuba, we can reduce amputations in the united states. that's just one example of how both of our peoples are hurt by this policy. so i'm very glad to see a change after 50 long years. >> ambassador, let me go to the diplomatic side of this. 18 months of secret negotiations. pope francis involved. this seems like a very serious and in depth type of negotiations that was really kept out of the public eye. >> which is quite extraordinary these days, to be able to have that degree of secrecy. i applaud the president for doing this. maybe in government, according to the press, was an important intermediary. so obviously this was a very
intricate set of discussions. lots of moving parts. but i think, reverend sharpton, the most important aspect is that it maybe took a younger president. someone who was not involved in international politics at the height of the cold war, to see that cold war policy of isolating cuba had not succeeded. to have the courage to change it. and cuba is just filled with cold war memories, from the bay of pigs fiasco to the cuban missile crisis of 1962. maybe the zenith of the cold war was fought over cuba. we're a long time past that. i think this does give the united states an opportunity to reassert our leadership on a more self-confidence basis. and frankly, we should not relent in our criticism of the castro regime. it is a major human rights violator and a country that does not live up to the standards that our country wants to see in the world. and i think the president will have a very strong platform to
make that case now. >> congresswoman, this policy has really done nothing. and i agree with you about the medical opportunities. i remember when i visited cuba years ago, that's what president castro was stressing. and the president today said 50 years is enough to judge a policy. we've been seeing many of us for years the policy just doesn't make sense for american interests. listen to how the president addressed it. >> okay. >> though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions. and it has had little effect beyond providing the cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people. today cuba is still governed by the castros and the communist party that came to power half a century ago. neither the american nor cuba an people are well served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before
most of us were born. >> president obama said this today. will engaging with cuba actually give the u.s. more power than trying to isolate? >> well, i absolutely think that it will. you know, it is also freedom for people here too. why is that it cuba was the only country on the planet where we had restrictions like this. we should have had the freedom to go anywhere in the world that we want to. we should also have the freedom to bring back things from the country. for example, you can't even bring rum back or cigars. we have a lot of restrictions that i believe it is time to be lift. again, this is the only place in the world. and i think that you probably know that right now today, there's over 100 medical students from the united states, young people who frankly couldn't afford the tuition of college in the united states, they're going to medical school for free in cuba. and their only obligation is to
come back here and provide health care in underserved communities. we met with every is of them. we had dinner with them saturday night. so this is something the u.s. population needs to understand and know about. i understand my colleagues who are cuban have a very reason for their beliefs. 50 years is long enough. >> some that have that opinion, it really is a relic of the cold war. and the american public has moved on this. a poll of normalizing relations with cuba shows 56% of americans favor such a move. 35% oppose. it is a policy whose time seems to have come with americans moving beyond a relic of the cold war. how do you explain this, ambassador? >> well, i think most people in
our country understand that we're almost always better off engaging diplomatically than just by trying to put some other group of people in a deep freeze and say we won't talk to them. we should have enough self-confidence in our powers and beliefs. when we sit down with this government in havana, we're not conferring legitimacy. we're not saying we aprove of their authoritarian policies. we want to engage with the people of that country. we want americans to have a normal association with the cuban people. they're very close to our shores. they're part of our hemisphere. this does correct a mistake i think from the cold war. we hung on too long and i really applaud president obama for his farsightedness in taking this decision today. >> finally, president obama is correcting this mistake. congresswoman karen bass and ambassador nicholas burns, thank you both for being here.
>> straight ahead, sony pictures is pulling the movie after the hacking group vows terror attacks on theaters. only the we're learning u.s. officials believe north korea was behind the computer hacking attack on sony entertainment. the officials telling nbc news, the hacking attack originated outside north korea but they think they were acting on orders from the north koreans. also more on the top story and why someone on the right is out of touch with america on cuba. >> i think this is most wonderful news in my entire life, to be honest with you. i have traveled all over the world including china. a very big communist country. we have a great relationship with the communist country china. why can't we have that with cuba?
the cuba news is all over social media today. daniel wrote on our facebook page. great! it's the first major step forward by the u.s. in over 50 years. cecile posted great movie by our president and definitely overdue. calvin, welcome home, alan gross. great job, mr. president. maybe now i can get a cuban cigar. but not everyone is applauding today. especially many on the right. we'll talk about that ahead. but first, please keep the conversation going on our facebook page or tweet us at politics nation. e skip the bad stuff. i'm good. that's what i like to call, the meta effect. 4-in-1 multi-health metamucil now clinically proven to help you feel less hungry between meals. experience the meta effect with our new multi-health wellness line. i love my meta health bars. because when nutritious tastes this delicious,
it's been a hostile relationship for more than five decades. the united states and cuba, led by the castros and also bedevilled our politics at home. from the cia back bay of the pigs invasion in 1961 to the cuban missile crisis that brought us to the brink of nuclear war, to cia plots to assassinate fidel castro, to the 1999 saga over 6-year-old elian gonzalez. it has seemed like an unfixable problem. now a new chapter. the u.s. and cuba will reestablish relations. so far the political reaction is mixed, and mostly harshly critical from the gop.
senator flake. the policy is right. senator bob darker says he is closely examining the implications of these major policy changes. while speaker boehner called it another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship. but that was nothing compared to what we heard from florida senator marco rubio. >> this president has proven today that his foreign policy is more than just naive. it is willfully ignorant of the 28 world truly works. this president is the single worst negotiator we've had in the white house in my lifetime. who has basically given the cuban government everything it asks for. and received no insurances of any advances in democracy and freedom in return. >> senator rubio's parents are cuban immigrants but he is out of step with the american people. 56% of americans support normalizing relations with cuba. polls of cuban americans show
similar numbers. the president is doing the right thing and the american people agree. joining me now are the "washington post" jonathan capehart and a senior fellow on foreign relations. and author of cuba, what every one needs to know. thank you both for being here. >> thanks. >> julia, is president obama's policy change here really just catching up to the 21st century? >> i think that puts it exactly succinctly. it is catching up to the 21st century and it is catching up to where the body politic of the united states and in cuba already is. this is the right time to move and it is the right time from the perspective of latin america as well. where i think our regional standing will get a big boost. we'll be able to take a bothersome difficult problem off the table and start to have a
much more productive conversation in the region, clearly with cuba as well. >> jonathan, it is really hard to overstate the weight and gravity and history of this policy that has weighed on this country for many a year. >> yeah. absolutely. i think as the president pointed out, this is a policy that has been in place for longer than a lot of people in this country have been alive. i think he said in his remarks that he was about 2 or 3 years old when the policy kicked in. so it is about time that after 50 years, the united states change posture. as the president said, we've been at this for 50 years and still cuba is communist? we've been at this 50 years and we have normalized relations with another communist country, china? we've normalized relations with vietnam, a country we went to war with and we lost lots of men and women on the battlefield, and yet we can't normalize relations with a country that is
90 miles to sour south where many people fled and came to the united states there in florida and throughout the country who would like to see their families back in cuba, would like to travel freely to cuba. lots of americans would like to go to cuba. so this is a policy change that should have happened a long time ago. for lots of reasons which i think we'll get into, the political pressure was made to bear against members of congress and certainly against people in the oval office to not change the policy or do what president obama did today. >> let me address that a minute. bloomberg had a piece today about the strength of the cuba lobby. the authorize writes, quote, since the edge of the cold war enl foreign policy experts have argued that u.s. interests would be served by opening relations with cuba. but u.s. policy until now hasn't
really changed and the reason has been the effectiveness of the anti-castro cuba lobby. who is the cuba lobby? and why don't they want to change? >> the cuba lobby has, i think that phrase almost doesn't even work anymore. because in the 1980s and the 1990s, there was an organization that had an office in washington and they actively lobbied members of congress. and there was cuba pack moan although there still is but it is much less. it was accurate to say there was a lobby. now there is a doorway with four or five members of congress in it who represent constituents who do deeply care about this issue. but it is much more a shadow legacy that president obama is exposing, pulling the curtains back on and showing the cuban american community, not the representatives in congress and not this lobby has now organic ties with the island of cuba. is sending their kids for summer
and spring vacation. is sending $2 billion of remittances every year and that money is investing in cuban small businesses already. the south florida economy has benefited from this. so that lobby, i think, is really atrophying. that's what today's move and what we'll see going forward will further expose. that doesn't mean senator rubio and senator menendez aren't going to try to stop this process. because the ties are organic, as president mckenly once. of singular intimacy between the two countries, that dynamic, that old shadow of a lobby will have a hard time stopping. especially because in cuba this will be so well received by the cuban people. >> president obama has been able to do this and no president, even democrats, before him have been able to even come near
trying to normalize relations. how do you view this in the whole view of other presidents not being able to move at all in trying to advance this policy toward normalization? >> well, sir, on the surface it is historic. as up, no other president has been able to do this. when you think of the political congratulations and how the republican party in particular used position on cuba as against democrats or anyone who wanted to normalize relations. what the president did today was not historic but brave. i think that's why a lot of people are looking at what did he with a neck snapping, whoa! he actually did it. we know that presidents who preceded him have been push, requested, please would you even consider doing this. here we have a president who in league with the pope, pope francis, was actually able to do
this. we're looking at a president in the last two years of his second term. who a lot of people would like to look at as a lame duck. when you take this into account, what he did on the executive action on immigration, this is a president showing he will not be lame. and one other opponent interesting republican party and lots of folks on the other seed like to say this press is turning his back on freedom and democracy in cuba. the oxygen of democracy is freedom. particularly the 43 flow of ideas. you get americans going down to cuba more than just folks visiting on, you know, tours that are now sanctioned. those ideas that they will bring with them to cuba, and that they will bring from cuba back to the united states will only make it easier and more possible for the people of cuba to experience the freedom we think they should have. >> well, another big, big day, a
huge day for the not so lame duck president obama. jonathan cape hart jr., thanks so much. breaking news out of hollywood tonight. u.s. officials say there is a link to norh korea to the sony hacking. and our panel takes on president obama's historic move on cuba. stay with us. >> i'm thrilled today. i want to thank president obama for the efforts that went into this huge break through. ♪
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>> 9/11 style threats. it has a plot to assassinate the north korean leader kim jong-un. >> the cia would love it if you could take him out. >> huh? >> take him out. >> like for drinks? >> to dinner? >> no. take him out. >> you want to us kill the leader of north korea? >> yes. the news is that u.s. officials believe it is linked to the hacking attack. joining me now, toure. nbc news reports, quote, we have found linkage to the north korean government. this is a major development in
the story. your reaction? >> to see that the interview is being pulled makes me think that kim jong-un has veto power of what goes into theaters. suddenly it will be pulled. i don't like that. i don't like negotiating with terrorists. i don't like giving in to terrorists. that said i understand why theater owners would say i have 25 screens, five screens, whatever it is, i don't want to put a picture in there that may test the sank at this time at this timy of my theater. how significant is it to you that a government may be behind hacking? >> we see that a lot out of china, other countries. hacking, other corporations. that's normal. it is not good business. the terrorism aspect, when they say we'll put bombs in or what have you in your theater. if you put out a silly false funny movie, not some documentary that lets us know
something about kim jong-un that we didn't know. it is a silly comedy. we've never seen something like this. the new york times said senior administration officials who would not speak on the record about the intelligence findings said the white house was still debating whether to publicly accuse north korea of what amounts of cyber terrorism campaign, is there any international legal action you can see on this hacking? >> i don't think you'll see that in this case. why ratchet up the response of everyone involved. what you will see, this is a cyber attack on sony. not the u.s. the movie theaters made the decision for them. based on the fact, why should they -- >> a no-win situation. why should they subject themselves to the legal liability. let's say this threat was a
complete bluff. but you have someone watching the news that sees and it they decide, i'm going to go in and try to act on this. and some lawyer will show up and say my chinlt was harm and you knew about this threat. and you did not take proper precautions. >> let me go back to you, toure. about an hour ago we got this with nbc news. and sony said, we respect and understand our partners' decision and of course, completely share their paramount interest of the safety of employees and theatergoers. if the theaters didn't pull out today works the show go on? >> absolutely. if the theaters didn't act, if there wasn't a threat. it is not the cyber terrorism as much as the actual terrorism. if you didn't have that, absolutely the movie would go on without a doubt. to say that sony pulled out is sort of like what we were talking about before. when the bride leaves, the groom
at the altar, the groom says well, i'm not going to marry her. she's already gone. the theaters have said we don't want to show this movie. so sony is pulling it maybe later. maybe later they'll do a theatrical release when the dust calms down. maybe they'll put it out on demand. america doesn't need to see this film them want to see it. it is not a work that we must see it. that we've been cheated out of. >> what legal action can we see from sony? >> well, sony has had two lawsuits filed against them. what can they do in return? that's questionable. what they're doing now is defending the suits against them. and the real question is, what did sony know and when did they know it? terms of this possible breach. one of the main arguments will be foreseeability on the part of sony.
was it foreseeable, that they made this movie, that hackers would come in and breach their personal records and data? i think that's a stretch to say that was reasonable. >> it seems we knew everything they knew. >> you sound like you don't think this is a big deal. the director said, tweet today, it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing "the interview." is this a dangerous press deny? >> it is. i've already said i don't like kim jong-un having a veto over what goes into american theaters. perhaps next can isis will say we don't want movies about time? ers. so it is a dangerous precedent. i don't like negotiating with terrorists but i understand that theater owners have to say, when people come into our house, they
have to feel comfortable. god forbid something happened in one theater and people would say i don't feel comfortable going to movie theaters. >> that's the problem that you can understand corporations being uncomfortable about employees and about theatergoers. >> absolutely. a no-win situation. why would they put themselves at risk? they have other movies they can show in the movie theater where this movie would be. they don't want people not showing up at theaters at all because this one movie is there. i will say this. had it not been for the pretty sophisticated hacking that took place at sony, i don't think you would be seeing this reaction to this threat. because of the sophisticated hacking that took place, i think they had to look at this. >> it is big news that sony has pulled the movie and is even bigger news that it is now being attached to a foreign government like north korea. thank you both for your time only the. and catch toure on the cycle. weekdays at 3:00 p.m. eastern on
msnbc. straight ahead, 50 years in the making. what the historic announcement on cuba means for the president's legacy. also, sorry. sorry excuse. why is senator ted cruz apologizing to republicans? and the first lady is spilling the beans on the obama secret dance party. all in conversation nation.
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can you help me up? [ snow intensifies ] [ sleighbells ring in the distance ] aleve. all day pain relief with just 2 pills. get back to being you. time now for conversation nation. joining us tonight, msnbc contributor victoria francesca soto, joe madison, and thank you all for being here. >> we start with the big news today. president obama's historic cuba announcement.
>> change is hard in our own lives and in the lives of nations. today we are making these changes because it is the right thing to do. today america chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future. for the cuban people. for the american people. for our entire hemisphere and for the world. >> the president saying today, it is the right thing to do. just like with health care and immigration. the president is moving ahead. joe, what does this say about the president's focus in his last two years in office? >> it says he listens. he obviously listened to our allies, a country of canada, other countries with longstanding relations with cuba. he is really quoting what the
pope said because the pope had a lot to do with this. he understands for decades, students, journalists, entertainers, and about nine other categories of americans have been going in and out of cuba, the timing is absolutely perfect. it gives him an opportunity to make a positive change in this hemisphere that is long overdue. this relationship, or lack of a relationship is nothing but a relic of the cold war, and he has put an end to it. at least the beginning of putting an end to it. >> how will this impact american politics, victoria? >> what we know is that it is not going to hurt democrats at all. it is only a very small minority within the republican party that has these strong feelings
against cuban relations and against fidel. and over the years that number has been decreasing. we see third, fourth generation cuban americans saying, you know what? fidel is not that big a deal in our lives. we want to focus more about how we can help cubans who are over there right now. so strategically, it does not hurt the democrats. and even republicans, with the exception of say, marco rubio, are the ones saying, no big deal. it is good for business. let's go forward with it. >> you know, it is a generational thing. there are cuban americans who have never been to cuba. nor have their children. >> right. i think this is a moment in which we have to take a second and say, this is historic. this is definitely hope and change. people voted form in 2008 and 2012 and we're seeing that the president is refusing to believe in the lame duck, he can't do anything productive for people. so yes, it is generational. but i think 50 years of history tells us that this is the right
thing to do. >> you know, joe, the question bears asking. why couldn't democrats before this do this? >> do this before? i think once again, it is political. there's no ifs, ands or buts about it. you have to keep in mind that you have an older leadership that gets called up in it. florida plays a big role. particularly in presidential elections. that's where the bulk of your opposition comes from. you have new leadership. as a matter of fact, you have new leadership in cuba. you have a younger generation in cuba. my daughter went to cuba with a group called semester at sea. they've been going in and out of cuba for years and they are fascinated by that country. i think the reason is strictly politics. the cold war.
the fear of communism. and isn't it quite absurd that for 50 plus years, we've been talking about, we don't want to do business with one of the smallest communist countries on the planet but yet we do business with china? >> right. that seems to have been a glaring contuld nontradiction t of american people. >> and did it work? for 50 years we thought if we keep the embargo in place, cuba will fold and embrace democracy. it didn't work. after trying something 50 years, let's change course. because cuba has already changed course. let's change course at home and see what we can get in terms of bringing forth a more democratic society in cuba. >> i've been watching this for years. i've even been to cuba once and i couldn't make any sense out of
how we could deal with all kinds of countries who are communist, who were dictatorships, who had human rights violations that were glaring. yet we couldn't deal with this country 90 miles off the miami coast. >> right. i think the justification historically has been proven completely wrong. and i think that like your other guest had said so eloquently, it was time for a change. we saw what did not work for 50 years. and this president has, you know, he has run multiple times on the fact that he is overdoing the old way. or doing legislative thing the old way. he is in the second term in particular. taking initiative to do the things that he thinks are the right thing to do for the american people. whether it be immigration or this new movie of cuba. and i think that he is proving that he is not going to just be a lame duck. he has proven that he is not just going to sit there until
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if love means never having to say you're sorry, what does that mean to ted cruz? he is apologizing for ryaning their weekends. cruz on the senate floor, meant the senate had to stay in session through the weekend. and it led to dozens of obama nominees getting confirmed in the final hours of the democratic-led senate. harry reid is bragging his senate confirmed, 132 judges during the 13th congress. the most in over 30 years. victoria will send in ted cruz a thank you gift for christmas? >> absolutely. and ted cruz saying i'm sorry? this is unheard of. i don't know about you but i'm smelling 2016 more and more. and i think this is just the beginning of us seeing ted cruz moderate his behavior. i'm not saying moderate behavior in general but in term of the teem of republican politics, he knows that yes, he needs the
republican primary base. if he really wants a shot at the white house, he needs to temper it. at least have a shot at the general electorate. >> now this is a big victory for the president. 132 judges confirmed seriously impacts the courts. >> it absolutely impacts the courts. it is one of the places overall the obama administration has struggled, marchly because of the make-up of the senate. so you see in federal courts certain laws that have been passed through the congress. pieces overturn and getting challenged. this is why particularly on the left. the importance of the federal bench cannot be understated. and i think going into the next administration, we need make the number one priority. so you're not at the last minute having to ram through, not ram through but push through nominations absolutely necessary for the function of the country. >> the you know, senator cruz apologized to his colleagues for keeping them over the weekend.
not for the judges. but it will be interesting going forward in 2015 whether we're going to see ted cruz having to apologize a lot more for what he may be doing for the republican party. >> oh, ted cruz blew it big time. and he knows it. and that's why he apologized. and let me tell you, the republican hs no intention of getting 132 judges confirmed. they were going to hold out until they were in total control of the senate. he blew it. i have dubbed ted cruz and a couple of his other colleagues in the senate and the house, they are what i call now the crazy caucus. they are nuts, man. and everybody knows it. he is the most disliked man on capitol hill at this point in time. and if he thinks, and where i disagree one thing that's been
said. he is not going to change. this is part of his make-up. and he is going to use this to appeal and say that the old heads, the leadership is out of step and that's what he is going to run on. you watch that. he's not going to change. he's part of the crazy caucus. that's what they are. >> it brings me back to how the president and harry reid really played "hardball" on that nuclear option. because of the republicans' misuse of the filibuster. this is how these things passed. you only needed 50 boats. >> absolutely. it was beautiful sportsmanship on the part of the administration. and ted cruz really thought he was going to be able to get away with it but he didn't. and he got checkmated by the democratic party. that's why he is apologizing. he messed up. he thought, okay, this is going to be a big win for me and wasn't. and i think that this is really
the beginning of him seeing, you know what? i think i need to get in hine and play ball with the republican party a little bit more. i don't want to ruffle too many feathers. so i'm really curious to see how many acts in the next couple months. >> if he doesn't play ball, he at least needs to play in the ball game. thank you for your time tonight. when we come back, meeting with fidel castro. a meeting to remember. next.
katy pesoft and fullntrary, how dlike a flower,grow? with new covergirl full lash bloom mascara. finally! volume that's soft - not spiky. new full lash bloom mascara from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl finally tonight, an historic day for the country. stinls first year of john kennedy's presidency, we've had this policy. i thought about it this afternoon as i watched the president. in 2000 i went with a delegation and went for a four-hour lunch with fidel castro. he talked about he wanted to
provide doctors and medical education for african-americans. we talked about race in cuba and how he admitted there was racism there, even against black cubans. i sat there thinking, why are we not dealing with this country? the people in cuba were not in any way different or hostile than people around the world. why would this man lock us into this policy? that changed today. and it changed forever. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. our man in havana. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. today is a moment in american history through the cuban revolution, through